I suppose there are three kinds of people. Those who serve a good king, those who serve a bad king, and those who are trying to be king. But is it possible that there is really just one kind of person? Wouldn't it make sense that everyone deep down in their core wants to serve a good king rather than the other two options? Then why don't they?
Consider the one who is serving a bad king. Why do they do it? In the Chronicles of Narnia, there were beasts who served the White Witch, and of course, in the recent making of the film those beasts were as ugly as could be, making it all the easier to hate them. But why did they serve the White Witch? I suspect it was fear and historical momentum. Fear is how it started and historical momentum is how it was maintained. We are by nature creatures of fear. Fear is an incredibly powerful force and we submit ourselves to it daily.
When the White Witch took over initially, she did it through an exertion of power, by using her magic to turn creatures into stone. This would no doubt elicit a large amount of fear which allowed her to manipulate a larger and larger population. Once those creatures who were so afraid of her began to do her bidding, they formed habits and established a pattern of behavior that would have been passed to their families and communities. Before long there was a whole army of creatures serving an evil monarch. I don't believe anyone really wanted to serve her, especially once they got to know her. But once inside her circle fear and momentum ruled the mind and therefore the actions of her servants.
Now consider the one who wants to be king. Why be king? What does a king get that a subject does not? Power is the first thing that comes to my mind, but power, like money, is by itself is useless. It is only a means to an end. So, what end? If you boil it down, all the things one can get with power or money serve to make a person either comfortable or excited, or both. Think about it. Sex, food, toys, adventures. They all comfort and excite. So what if there were a good king who would provide everything necessary to be comforted and excited without all the stress of being in control of an empire? This brings us back to fear, because if I fear that such a king doesn't exist or won't provide those things for me, and I don't want to serve another king, then my only choice is to become a king myself.
I believe the White Witch wants to serve Aslan, but she is paralyzed by fear that he won't love and provide for her. And the wolves want to serve Aslan, but they live in fear of the White Witch who is here and now, and don't know Aslan who was not present for so long. Aslan, the true ruler could force both of them to serve him, but he chooses not to. He allows them to make their own choice. And some, like Edward and Eustace, he chooses to love in such an overwhelmingly present way that they could choose no other path than to serve him.
It all comes down to fear. Think about that the next time you see a "bad" person, whether it's at work, on the road, in the news, or in the mirror. What does he or she fear? Might you be the one to introduce them to Aslan?
On my best days, I'm trying to serve the one true good king. But when I'm weak, I'm prone to try to be king. What about you? Do you find yourself more likely to serve the wrong king or to try to be king?
NOTE: This essay was originally posted on Facebook on my Mark D. Bullard Author page on Sept 9, 2014.